As we enter into this chapter of 1st Corinthians I want to remind you of some of the culture in this area of the world at this particular time. It seems that Paul almost stays focused on sex. There was such a division going on in the church at this time and also the whole culture in the area was sexually driven. Reminds me of the world we live in today.
Paul opens up this chapter with a look at what you should do when you are having a major disagreement between two believers. Paul asks the question in the opening verse; How could you take a matter before the unjust (unbelievers) before taking it to the believers?
Paul explains that the Christians will judge the world. If the world is going to be judged by us then we should be able to judge the small matters that happen between us.
As Paul goes on he starts to ask if there is not a wise enough person between all the people in the church to judge people in small matters. Today, we see somethings that happen similarly. Christians don’t want to get involved in small personal matters and we wind up putting others in a situation where they have no choice but to consult the courts. Yet, we have the knowledge, wisdom and authority to help people work out things if we will just allow ourselves to take that step and help.
In verses 8, 9 and 10 Paul categorized some of the sins that are separating people then AND now from God. While these things do separate us, God continues to love us. The damage that is done is often what we do to ourselves. Our shame, embarrassment and self-imposed condemnation leads us to believe that we are less of a Christian or less committed to Christ. We tend to make ourselves the judge and jury of ourselves and won’t allow ourselves to – first and foremost, ask God’s forgiveness of our sins and second ask ourselves to forgive ourselves and move forward knowing that we have been redeemed.
Verse 11 tells the end of the story. We are washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of God.
Verses 12 to 18 warns us that fornication is a sin that is done with our body parts. Not only the man with the woman but the woman with the man in that in the act of sex, different from most other sins, our bodies are actually making internal contact with each other. In this act the two participants become one.
Verse 19 explains that we are the temple of the Holy Ghost. When you join your body with another in the act of sex you actually are becoming one body and in that act you are actually linking with another and causing sin to occur, also because it takes your mind away from the things of God.
Paul closes what must be a very difficult chapter explaining that we should be glorifying God with our bodies. In all things we should be working and doing things to His glory. In this we grow deeper in His knowledge and grace and are able to walk more clearly and with a clear conscience.